While the London Book Fair has historically been a rights’ conference, in which media of a variety of types are negotiated among publishers, studios, and more, the wider adoption and importance of digital publishing have led to a pre-Fair event that is an outstanding conference in its own right. The Digital Minds Conference, which began today in London and kicks off the LBF, brings together some of the industry leaders and game changers for an annual peek at the state and the future of ebooks.
One of this year’s biggest draws at Digital Minds is author Neil Gaiman, who is arguably one of the author leaders in social media adoption and brand-building to further reach his audiences. This author branding is especially important for a writer like Gaiman, whose work crosses multiple genres but still reaches nearly two million Twitter followers. Gaiman delivered this morning’s keynote speech at the conference.
Rebecca Smart, CEO of Osprey Group, also spoke on some of the current obstacles in digital publishing, notably the lack of speed that belies the entire digital model and an artificial level of complexity to publishing ebooks. There was a lot of discussion about the ways publishers need to take a lesson from start-ups, beginning with a “no rules” mentality towards risk taking and new projects. Smart wrote about this need in a pre-Conference blog post.
One of the most interesting features of any conference of this type would be the long-awaited, often secretive announcements. Ganxy will be announcing changes to their ebook model tomorrow, but today’s news was the Black Crown project. Black Crown is a still-cryptic “infectious new kind of narrative experience,” whose own website states that an author will be revealed some time next month.